Single-screen cinema owners threaten stir

ST Correspondent
Wednesday, 5 July 2017

The number of viewers visiting single-screen theatres is dwindling. This has put these cinema halls in trouble. This needs to be understood. Hence, the State government should not introduce local tax. This is our demand.
— Sadanand Mohol
(President, Theatre Owners and Distributors Association)

Pune: The Marathi film industry is facing a financial crisis. Moreover, GST is levied on tickets of Marathi films. In this backdrop, if the State government levies ‘local tax’ on Marathi films, the single-screen theatre operators in the State will call a bandh on the lines of Tamil Nadu, threatened the Theatre Owners and Distributors Association
on Tuesday.

“Following the implementation of GST, many issues are being faced by single-screen cinema halls. There is also confusion on many points. The Tamil Nadu government has started recovering local tax after implementing GST. A similar scenario may happen in Maharashtra.

Theatre owners expressed their anguish by calling a bandh in Tamil Nadu. We will also air our opposition to the local tax in a similar way,” cinema hall owners told Sakal Times.

Vijay Talkies owner and Theatre Owners and Distributors Association Secretary Dilip Nikam said, “18 per cent GST is levied on a ticket costing up to Rs 100 while 27 per cent GST is applied to tickets costing above Rs 300. Moreover, every state has the freedom to recover local tax. This will cripple our business. We held a meeting due to this fear. We have decided to call a bandh if a move is made to levy local tax.”

Confusion prevails

“We were permitted to charge service tax to viewers for the upkeep of theatres, security and repairs. Can we still recover the tax? Are municipal tax, show tax still applicable? Theatre operators are still confused about these,” said Association secretary Vivek Damle. He said, “The Centre has announced ‘One Nation, One Tax’ motto. However, it has allowed the states to apply a separate tax. This will cause losses. We will have no other option but to close down theatres if a new tax is levied.”

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